With Maryland headed to Virginia after this past weekend's NCAA Regional in Columbia, this month's Major League amateur draft could determine to a large degree where South Carolina baseball goes from here.
Maryland earned a pair of victories over the Gamecocks to advance to this week's Super Regional in Charlottesvile, Va., ending the Gamecocks' season and potentially the collegiate careers of a core group of veteran South Carolina players.
Greiner, Pankake, Holbrook at the NCAA Regional Press Conference
Those players, including catcher Grayson Greiner, infielder Joey Pankake, infielder/outfielder Tanner English, first baseman/left-handed pitcher Kyle Martin as well as pitchers Joel Seddon, Jordan Montgomery and Evan Beal could receive professional contract offers and not return to the Gamecocks for their senior seasons.
"Those kids won a lot of games here," said South Carolina Coach Chad Holbrook. "They did this program right. They made our fans and the people who follow and support Gamecock baseball here, they made them awfully proud. I'm proud of them as well."
According to Scout.com National Baseball Analyst Kiley McDaniel, Greiner, ranked 70th among draft-eligible players, could be selected in the top three rounds. Pankake (No. 238) and English (No. 255) figure to go some where in the first 10 rounds of the June draft.
The draft-eligible juniors played roles in the Gamecocks' last National Championship in 2012. This past season, Martin led the team in batting with a .336 average and was the only player other than English to start all 62 games. he added five home runs and 38 RBI, second on the team.
Greiner led the Gamecocks with eight homers and 50 RBI, while hitting .311 and starting 58 games behind the plate.
Pankake hit .303 with five home runs, 31 RBI and a team-high 67 runs scored in 58 starts.
English hit .284 with a home run, 25 RBI and 61 runs scored. He easily led the Gamecocks in stolen bases with 21 in 24 attempts.
Seddon spent the season as the Gamecocks' primary closer, finishing with 14 saves, a 3-2 record and 1.66 earned-run average while earning All-SEC honors.
Montgomery was tied with Wil Crowe for the team lead in wins with an 8-5 record. The left-hander finished with a 3.42 ERA, struck out a team-best 95 and walked 29 in 100 innings of work. McDaniel said both Montgomery and Seddon could be selected between rounds six and 10.
Jordan Montgomery vs Alabama
Beal missed most of the 2014 season with a back injury. The right-hander started four games and made a relief appearance, finishing with a 3.29 ERA and 0-1 record.
"I love those guys to death -- Grayson, Joey, K-Mart, Joel, all of them," said Chad Holbrook.
"They're great kids. They've been here and they've given us all they had. They're baseball rats."
Grayson Greiner on deck vs CampbellPhotos by Katie Dugan and Burton Fowles